Last week, nanny statists in Ireland released a “press release” claiming one of their studies demonstrated evidence for plain-packaging.
Funnily enough though, they refused to release the actual study. That’s right, they tried to their so called “research” secret.
The study was of the usual sort – teenagers were shown cigarette packs and asked leading questions with the predictable result that teenagers think ugly packs look ugly.
Christopher Snowdon explains:
If asked whether they think the ‘plain’ packs look worse than existing packs, they say that they do. Anyone would. The question that campaigners have never come close to answering is whether making the packs look worse will put people off smoking. The experience with graphic warnings suggests that it won’t—because it hasn’t—and there are plenty of clues in the surveys themselves to confirm this.
For example, this new Irish study finds that brand awareness amongst both never-smokers and smoking “enthusiasts” (their word for occasional//social smokers) was low. Amongst the enthusiasts, brand recognition was “generally limited. Most tended to stick with initially trialled brands or whatever friends were purchasing.” Amongst never-smokers, awareness was “limited to what family members or friends smoked.” So much for the appeal of ‘glitzy’ packaging. Awareness of brands was only high amongst teens who were already regular, daily smokers, which is what you would expect from regular consumers of any product. There is no evidence here that brands play any part in smoking initiation.
As Mr Snowdon goes on to note, the study itself shows that “When it comes to choosing which cigarette brand to purchase, price is ultimately the deciding factor for teens and most will automatically choose the cheapest irrespective of whether it is their first choice…” In fact, “glitzy” packaging was found to be a turn-off: teens smoked “cheap looking…garish” cigarettes more often!
Most devastatingly for the nanny-statists though was the fact that:
Enthusiasts and regulars suggest that they will eventually become desensitised to the on pack messages and many claim they will just purchase tins/personalised boxes to carry their cigarettes in.
Despite the best efforts of nanny statists to rig this study, it seems clear that the result is inescapable: plain packaging will fail.
Is it any wonder that they wanted to keep this secret?